It's definitely a sign of the times we live in.
More than 70 unemployed people were joined by labor union leaders, clergy and community activists today to push of the passage of a federal jobs bill. In an event organized by the AMOS Project, the crowd circled Fountain Square chanting, “We need a job” and “I'm ready to work,” while brandishing signs containing similar sentiments.
The group is lobbying U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) and U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Cleveland) to support the Local Jobs for America Act. The bill, which is pending in the House, has more than 160 co-sponsors including eight U.S. House representatives from Ohio.
Specifically, the bill would invest $75 billion over two years in local communities to hire staff in the public sector, as well as provide funding for 50,000 on-the-job private sector training positions.
Also, the bill includes several provisions already approved by the House such as allocating $23 billion this year to help states support 300,000 education jobs as well as $1.18 billion for 5,500 law enforcement officers and $500 million to retain, rehire, and hire firefighters.
Supporters say the bill would create or save one million jobs in the public and private sectors this year.
“Our elected officials are supposed to be accountable to the people,” said Paul Graham, an AMOS spokesman. “As Congress continues to debate the state of the economy and after bailing out Big Banks, thousands of people in Ohio are turning in job applications every day with no response from employers. They cannot ignore us; our suffering is real, it's tangible, it’s not invisible.”
Today's crowd demanded a meeting with Driehaus to discuss the bill. His office staffers said an appointment would be made during the August recess.
The AMOS Project is a Tristate coalition of 30 churches committed to promoting social justice and reducing poverty.